Emergency Preparedness & Response Program

Preparing for, responding to, and assisting in the recovery of natural and human-caused public health incidents and threats.

Program Overview

The Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response program at Spokane Regional Health District works with other public health staff, healthcare providers and community agencies to respond effectively to public health emergencies in and around Spokane County.

It is important to understand the threat and hazards to our community in order to be prepared and recover quickly if a public health event strikes Spokane County and surrounding areas.

The program is funded through a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and managed by Washington State Department of Health.

Cold Weather Preparedness

Winter is nearly here and with it, cold weather and winter storms. Keep your family and yourself safe in the extreme cold with these pointers from from the National Weather Service:

  • Check the forecast at weather.gov or on your favorite weather app or weather station and make checking it part of your routine so you'll know when to expect cold weather.
  • If possible, avoid being outside during the coldest part of the day, typically the early morning, and try to provide a warm place for your children to wait for the school bus.
  • If you have pets or farm animals, make sure they have plenty of food and water, and are not overly exposed to extreme cold.
  • Take precautions to ensure your water pipes do not freeze.
  • Know the temperature thresholds of your plants and crops.
  • Keep your vehicle's gas tank at least a half full during extreme cold situations so that you can stay warm if you become stranded.
  • Dress for the outdoors even if you don't think you'll be out much.
  • Make sure to prepare a car survival kit with the following items:
    • Jumper cables, flares or reflective triangle
    • Flashlights with new batteries before each winter season starts (pack some extras, too)
    • First aid kit
    • Necessities like diapers or formula if you or a family member has a baby or other necessary items for any other family members with special needs
    • Non-perishable food (dry cereal, nuts and energy bars are simple options)
    • At least one gallon of water per person, per day to last at least three days
    • Basic toolkit with pliers, wrench and screwdriver
    • Cat litter or sand to get better tire traction if you get stuck
    • Shovel to dig out snow
    • Ice scraper (this is a good idea even if you usually park in a garage)
    • Clothes including gloves, hat, sturdy boots, jacket and an extra change of clothes for the cold
    • Warmers for body, hands and feet
    • Blankets or sleeping bags — in case you get stranded in traffic on a lonely road
    • Charged cell phone and a spare charger

Evacuation Guidelines

During an emergency, it's important to know whether to stay sheltered at home or leave to avoid immediate threats. Spokane Emergency Management provides guidelines for when to stay, when to prepare to evacuate and when to evacuate. Evacuation guidelines are organized into four levels of action (see below).

Ready, Set, Go!

The Ready, Set, Go! (RSG) Program, managed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), seeks to develop and improve the dialogue between fire departments and the residents they serve. National studies have shown that firefighters are uniquely respected in their communities and can project a trusted voice in the public preparedness appeal. The program helps fire departments teach individuals who live in high risk wildfire areas – and the wildland-urban interface (WUI) – how to best prepare themselves and their properties against fire threats. It helps residents be Ready with preparedness understanding, be Set with situational awareness when fire threatens, and to Go, acting early when a fire starts.

Creating a Household Emergency Plan

More than a collection of names, phone numbers, and street addresses, an Emergency Action Plan is an instruction manual for how to stay healthystay informedand stay in contact in an emergency. Because an Emergency Action Plan affects everyone in your household, the whole household should be involved in making and practicing the plan.

Find phone numbers for your physician, pediatrician, pharmacist, and veterinarian. Other important numbers you should know include:

  • Disaster Distress Helpline: 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
  • Animal Poison Control Helpline: 888-426-4435
  • Poison Control Center: 800-222-1222

Ask a friend or relative who lives outside of the immediate area—preferably in another state—to be your family’s Out-of-Town Contact.

Identify a shelter-in-place location inside your home, two (2) emergency meeting places outside your home where your family can reunite in an emergency, and at least two (2) ways out of every room in your home.

Ask your child’s school or daycare about their emergency communication and family reunification plans.

Update your Emergency Action Plan whenever your family moves, your child changes schools, you change jobs, have a child, or experience some other significant life event.

Do 1 Thing

Do 1 Thing is a 12-month program that makes it easy to prepare for emergencies or disasters.

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